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Pakistani High Court Strikes Down Zardari Appointments


Pakistan's Supreme Court has suspended two key judicial appointments by President Asif Ali Zardari.

The court issued an emergency ruling late Saturday, saying Mr. Zardari violated the country's constitution by failing to first consult the court's chief justice.

The high court also ordered government officials to appear at a February 18 hearing on the appointments.

The court also said the two judicial nominees and - one for the Supreme Court (Justice Khwaja Muhammed Sharif) and one for the Lahore High Court (Justice Mian Saqib Nisar) - will continue to serve in their previous positions until the matter is resolved.

A spokesman for Mr. Zardari said Saturday that contrary to the emergency ruling, consultations had, in fact, taken place.

This is not the first time President Zardari has been at odds with the country's Supreme Court.

Mr. Zardari had promised to reinstate Chief Justice Iftikhar Mohammed Chaudhry and other judges after taking office in 2008, but waited until last year to make the move.

In December, the Pakistani high court invalidated an amnesty decree that had shielded more than 8,000 people, including Mr. Zardari and some of his top allies, against corruption charges.

Some information for this report provided by AP, AFP and Reuters.

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